Parenting involves so much more than the words used to define it. Parents go through every possible resource to provide the best for their children because they have their individuality which is set up on different notes than those of adults. This means that their needs, actions, thoughts can be colored in tons of different hues, and understanding them and acknowledging them is “parenting 101”.
That being said, parenting a child with learning disabilities has its puzzles and turns. It could be very different but that does not necessarily mean it has to be scary because, with accurate knowledge and embracing the early signs, parents can devise a helpful plan of action.
It is an umbrella term covering a range of learning and thinking differences that influence how the brain receives and processes information. It does not mean that they are not intelligent or motivated but simply that their brains are wired differently. Such conditions affect one’s learning process and give rise to reading, writing, maths, reasoning, listening, and speaking problems. If after a persistent effort by a child in a certain area, it is still problematic then it might indicate a learning disability.
It is imperative to seek professional help for evaluation once the symptoms surface and the child starts struggling daily. A series of tests, interviews, and evaluations are carried. Learning disabilities can be diagnosed through different mediums-
These evaluations and tests are usually carried by clinical and educational psychologists and psychometrists (individuals who carry out tests and assessments). Tests like Stanford Binet Intelligence Test, Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WIPPSI), Differential Abilities Scale (DAS), Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC), or Comprehensive Test of Non-verbal Intelligence (CTONI) can be used to assess areas of strengths and weaknesses.
These tests focus on reading, writing, and math. These scores can be compared to scores on an intelligence test to determine whether there is a discrepancy between performance level and expected intellectual range. A child with a high score on an intelligence test can still struggle with academic achievements which could be the result of an underlying learning disability. For example - A score of 111 on an IQ test but a score of 80 in math. Tests like the Wechsler Individual Assessment Test (WIAT), Woodcock-Johnson Test of Achievement (WJ), or Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement (K-TEA) can be employed.
Visual-motor integration is a process that coordinates the information we receive visually with the motor actions we carry out with our arms, legs, and body. For example - Writing, drawing, catching a ball, etc. Tests like the Bender Visual Motor Gestalt test or Developmental test for Motor Integration can be used.
Such tests assess the ability to understand spoken or written language and whether a child can respond verbally to cues. Tests such as Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF) or Test of Language Development are used.
Learning disabilities cause impairment in the natural process of development and the following reasons can signify the importance of early diagnosis-
Understanding and supporting a child with a learning disability can be an uphill battle but learning about the specific disability and how it affects the behavior can be a game-changer for you and your child. Early and proper diagnosis, timely intervention, and your love and patience. That is all it takes.